- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - State Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead announced Monday he won’t run for a third term as leader of the party he helped make dominant in what was once a Democratic state.

Armistead he wants to be involved in the 2016 Republican presidential primary and that would not be possible if he were party chairman because the chairman is supposed to be neutral. Armistead said he doesn’t have a favored candidate yet but is talking to some potential candidates.

Armistead served in the state Senate from Shelby County when Republicans were the minority. Then he made an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor before being elected to a two-year term as party chairman in 2011. He was re-elected in 2013 despite opposition from some of Alabama’s top Republican officeholders.

During Armistead’s leadership, the GOP won every race for statewide offices in 2012 and 2014, strengthened its majority in the Legislature, and made significant gains in county courthouses.

“Serving as chairman of the party during our transition from the minority party to the majority party has presented its challenges, as I knew it would. However, the gratification of leading the party to even greater heights during these past four years has more than compensated for any internal growing pains we have experienced,” Armistead said in an email Monday to party members.

The State Republican Executive Committee will meet in Montgomery on Feb. 21 to elect a new chairman.

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